We Make $350k Per Year And Are Both 30. Which Of These 3 Condos Is Best With Primary Schools In Mind?
- September 23, 2022
- 22 min read
Hi Stacked Homes
Happy to say I am an avid follower and reader of your site as it provides really helpful insights to home ownerships in Singapore. I am reaching out to you in hopes that you might provide a second opinion for our current situation.
We just sold our place and are now looking a new place. We are both 30 years old and have 1 toddler (family planning to have 1 more kid in the future), 1 helper, and 1 large dog. We stayed at a 3 bedroom condo in Clementi area <1000 sqft and found our place to be lacking in space after our first kid was born. We are now looking for a bigger place with primary school proximity in mind as we plan to stay for 5-10 years down the line. We both have a household income a little north of 350k per annum.
We have been house viewing for several months now and kept having uncertainties. We prefer resale to new launches as the latter tends to be smaller which we are trying to avoid. We have been looking all around Singapore: Bishan, Alexandra, Bukit Timah, Newton, Novena, Marine Parade, etc, and have our preferences down to a few places now.
Bishan: Clover by the Park (+School, +Park, -MRT far, -mid price)
Lorong Chuan: The Springbloom (+School, +MRT closest, +lowest price, -27 yrs old development although still well kept)
Marine Parade: Cote D’Azur (+School, +ECP, +MRT coming soon, +Amenities, -priciest, -development is really dirty and not maintained)
What is your opinions on these developments? My top two would be Clover and Springbloom. And then Clover over Springbloom as it is newer development. However recently I have a change of heart, as Clover floorplan has a lot of wasted space (Springbloom doesn’t). I can get Springbloom + renovation under 2 million mark whereas Clover would be 2.5 million+. By the way I would be staying in a vacant HDB rent free until I found a new place. So should I just bite the bullet and get Springbloom or any other condos suggestion pls?
Thanks so much!
Thanks for writing in to us, and we appreciate the support so far! It seems that you have encountered the paradox of choice, where having too many options requires more effort to choose and may even leave you feeling unsatisfied with your eventual choice.
Nevertheless, we suppose having more options is still definitely a better situation to be in than having limited options. As these 3 developments are all situated in different locations, it’s hard to really compare as it is not exactly comparing apples to apples. We also don’t have a lot of details (we only have your ages and annual income), as such, we are not able to calculate your affordability exactly. But with both of you being 30 years old with an annual income of $350K, the maximum loan you can take is approximately $3,572,317 with a loan tenure of 30 years. Your affordability will still boil down to how much CPF funds and cash you have and wish to put into the purchase at that will make up the 25% downpayment. Regardless, we assume that since you’ve highlighted these developments, financing these properties shouldn’t be an issue so let’s run through the projects individually first!
Clover by the Park
Clover by the Park is a 99 year leasehold project that was completed ten years ago in 2012. It is a mid sized development with 616 units made up of 3 to 6 bedders. With such a unit mix, it is likely that majority are home owners rather than investors as there is a lack of small unit types.
In terms of amenities, it is a 3-minute walk away from Bishan North Shopping Mall which while a mall by name, it’s more of the neighbourhood variety than it is one for proper shopping. As such, it consists of a wet market, NTUC Fairprice, eateries and other miscellaneous shops that sell basic necessities. It is also a short bus ride of under 10 minutes to Junction 8 which offers a wide array of food and entertainment options and as the most recognisable mall serving the area, is constantly crowded. Located right beside Junction 8 is the Bishan Public Library which could be useful for your kid, or kids, in the future. There are also numerous foodcourts at and around the Bishan bus interchange so you never have to worry about going hungry or getting tired of repeatedly eating the same food.
The project is located just a minute walk away from Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park which is perfect since you’ve a large dog that you’ll likely need to bring for walks on a daily basis. Toddlers can have bountiful energy too, so it’s always great to have a large space to roam freely. There are also 2 other smaller parks just a 6 minute walk away, namely Bishan Active Park and Bishan North Neighbourhood Park. If you have an active lifestyle, the Bishan Sports Hall, stadium and swimming complex are just a 15 minute walk away.
As for transport links, it is an 18 minute walk to Bishan MRT station which most will not consider as a daily walkable distance. There are however a handful of feeder buses that will take you to the MRT station within 10 minutes. For those who drive, it is a short drive to Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 which links to the CTE and PIE.
You’ve mentioned that primary school is a priority and there are 3 within 1 km of this development. They are Catholic High School, Teck Ghee Primary School and Townsville Primary School. Given you are planning a move with primary schools in mind, it is highly probable that the aim is for Catholic High School here.
The development sits on a land plot spanning 21,916 sqm. The 2 tower blocks are positioned in such a way that all the units are either facing north or south so you should get good natural ventilation and avoid the dreaded west sun. The spacious drop off point and open plaza creates a good distance between the two towers and ensures that inward facing units still get a nice open view.
It is a full-fledged condominium with all the usual facilities such as a 50m lap pool, gym, tennis court, bbq areas and the rare basketball court (albeit just a half court).
There are 400 units of 3 bedders ranging from 1,216 to 2,207 sq ft spread across every stack in the development with certain stacks only up to level 13 (Stacks 1,2,5,6,9,12,13,16). The best stacks will be 13,14,15 and 16 which will get an unblocked view of the Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park.
|29 Jul 2022||1,216||$1,511||$1,838,000||6 Bishan St 25 #02|
|29 Jul 2022||1,249||$1,682||$2,100,000||6 Bishan St 25 #26|
|6 Jun 2022||1,292||$1,502||$1,940,000||2 Bishan St 25 #09|
|14 Apr 2022||1,765||$1,417||$2,501,888||6 Bishan St 25 #35|
|25 Feb 2022||1,733||$1,443||$2,500,000||2 Bishan St 25 #28|
|14 Feb 2022||1,292||$1,533||$1,980,000||6 Bishan St 25 #29|
|10 Feb 2022||1,249||$1,573||$1,964,000||6 Bishan St 25 #13|
|4 Feb 2022||1,281||$1,599||$2,048,000||6 Bishan St 25 #19|
|21 Jan 2022||1,216||$1,511||$1,838,000||2 Bishan St 25 #25|
|13 Jan 2022||1,216||$1,389||$1,690,000||2 Bishan St 25 #14|
In the last 8 months there were only 10 transactions, 8 of which were 3 bedders and they were all the smaller 3 bedroom types below 1,300 sq ft. These were transacting at an average of $1,538 psf and an average price of $1,924,750.
As most of the 3 bedroom layouts are pretty similar, we will study one from stack 14 which is facing Bishan – Ang Mo Kio Park. Size wise it’s definitely comfortable for a family of 3 or 4 plus a helper and a dog. The layout is also functional with most of the unit being regularly shaped so it’s easy to arrange your furniture and all the bedrooms are spacious enough to fit a double bed. The kitchen comes with a yard, WC and utility room which can also be used as a helper’s room or for storage.
However like you’ve mentioned, the drawback is the wastage of liveable space. For instance, the long entryway into the unit, the planter and bay windows, and the bathtub which some may find unnecessary. This is the same for all the other 3 bedders except for stacks 8 and 11 which do not come with a bathtub. Of course, you can always take away the bathtub and renovate it to your liking, so this is hardly a big issue.
Let’s take a look at how Clover by the Park is performing compared to other projects in the vicinity.
|Project||Tenure||Completion||No. of units||Avg PSF |
(Jan 2021 – Aug 2022)
|Bishan 8||99 years from 1996||1999||200||$1,269|
|Bishan Loft||99 years from 2000||2003||384||$1,275|
|Clover by the Park||99 years from 2007||2011||616||$1,422|
|Sky Habitat||99 years from 2011||2015||509||$1,608|
|Sky Vue||99 years from 2013||2016||694||$1,802|
Looking at the table and chart above, you’ll notice that even though Bishan 8 and Bishan Loft are 5-11 years older than Clover by the Park, the difference in average PSF is only 11.5% – 12.1%. As for Sky Habitat and Sky Vue which are 4 – 6 years younger, their average PSF is 13.1% – 26.7% higher. The most reasonable explanation is that the other 4 developments are all less than 10-minute walk away from Bishan MRT station which could be a factor that is contributing to the price disparity.
We can see from the above graph that the price trend for Clover by the Park is mostly in line with the overall trend of private residential properties (excluding ECs) in District 20 up until 2017 when the gap started to widen. It has caught up in the last two years which is likely the effect of the surge in demand during the pandemic. There hasn’t been many new projects launched in D20 in recent years, so there is still demand for older projects especially when they are so conveniently located like Bishan 8 and Bishan Loft.
Next, let’s take a closer look at The Springbloom.
The Springbloom is also a 99-year leasehold project that was completed in 1999. It is on the lower end of a mid-sized development with 372 units made up of 1 to 4-bedroom units.
As for amenities, there are a handful of eateries and mini-marts under the HDB blocks at 301 and 304 Serangoon Avenue 2 which is an 8-minute walk away. There is also the Serangoon Central Market and Food Centre which is slightly further but the walk will take just under 15 minutes. There, you can find an NTUC Fairprice, Giant supermarket, lots of food options, clinics, hair salons, pharmacies, etc. For major retail options, you’ll have to go to either Junction 8 or NEX which are both just one MRT station away. The newly-opened New Tech Park also brings an exciting array of 26 diverse retail and F&B outlets here, making it even more convenient for those living here.
At the moment there is a pretty huge park just across the street – Chuan Lane Park (circled in the image below), which is great for walking your dog. That being said, do note that this park has been earmarked for residential purposes since 2003. So while it may just continue this way for some time, it’s also anybody’s guess when that would change. There are also 2 other smaller parks just opposite the project – Mei Hwan Crescent playground and Mei Hwan Drive playground.
For transport links, the project is conveniently located right in front of Lorong Chuan MRT station. With the MRT station being underground, the good thing here is that you won’t have to worry about noise from the train track. There is a bus stop just across the road with buses that will take you to Bishan Interchange and Jurong East Interchange (which goes through Orchard, Queensway, and Clementi). For drivers, the CTE is just a 5-minute drive away.
Primary schools within 1 km of The Springbloom are CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian, St Gabriel’s and Yangzheng Primary School. Out of these Yangzheng Primary School is the most popular, so again we are assuming that this would be the priority.
The Springbloom sits on a land plot of 24,308 sqm. The 3 tower blocks have an octagonal shape with a unit at every corner. As such, 2 stacks of each block will be affected by the west sun. The advantage here is that there is a good amount of distance between each block as the swimming pools and the clubhouse are separating them.
As it is an older development, it comes with facilities that you see only in older condominiums such as a full sized basketball court, 3 tennis courts, a squash court and the usual lap pool, gym and bbq areas. For just 372 units, this is a pretty incredible offering.
There are 200 3-bedroom units ranging from 1,302 to 1,948 sq ft which are pretty sizeable indeed.
|3 Aug 2022||1,130||$1,168||$1,320,000||139 Serangoon Ave 3 #06|
|17 Jun 2022||1,539||$1,202||$1,850,000||145 Serangoon Ave 3 #05|
|2 Jun 2022||1,119||$1,223||$1,368,888||145 Serangoon Ave 3 #16|
|23 May 2022||1,453||$1,273||$1,850,000||139 Serangoon Ave 3 #05|
|8 Apr 2022||1,475||$1,207||$1,780,000||139 Serangoon Ave 3 #03|
For the last 8 months, there were only 5 transactions, 3 of which are 3 bedroom units. They were transacting at an average PSF of $1,227 and an average price of $1,826,667.
There are two 3 bedroom types – 3 bedder and 3 + Study. Only units on the 2nd and 6th floors have a PES or terrace.
The smallest 3 bedder in this development is 1,302 sq ft which is a very good size for the unit type. Both the above layouts are efficient and regularly shaped which provides ease of furniture placement. The utility room is ventilated here, which most people would use as a helper’s room. Probably because of the bigger than usual size, you even have a store room here.
All the bedrooms are decently sized and will be able to fit a double bed. The 1,475 sq ft unit has 2 entrances into the house – one through the living and one through the yard and it comes with an additional WC which can be useful as your family grows bigger.
Similar to Clover by the Park, the units here also come with bay windows in the bedrooms and a bathtub in the master bathroom. Another thing that might be a potential drawback for some buyers is the lack of balcony space. If you value living space more though, you’d definitely prefer this over Clove By The Park.
Now let’s take a look at how The Springbloom is performing in comparison with the other projects in the vicinity.
|Project||Tenure||Completion||No. of units||Avg PSF|
(Jan 2021 – Aug 2022)
|Chuan Park||99 years from 1980||1984||444||$1,100|
|Chiltern Park||99 years from 1991||1995||500||$1,146|
|The Springbloom||99 years from 1995||1999||372||$1,139|
|Goldenhill Park Condominium||Freehold||2004||390||$1,658|
|The Scala||99 years from 2010||2013||468||$1,560|
From the graph above we can see that all the developments in the area are moving in accordance with the general market, even for the older projects like Chuan Park and Chiltern Park which are 42 and 31 years old respectively. The Springbloom being the newest of the 3 older projects at 27 years old, is commanding a slightly higher price than the other two. You’ll notice that in the years before the pandemic, prices have been pretty stagnant and even dipping slightly which is normal given the age of the developments.
There is a clear price disparity between the 3 older projects and Amaranda Gardens, Goldenhill Park Condominium and The Scala. These 3 projects could also be the reason prices of the older developments are holding up as the difference in average PSF is minimally at 36%. Buyers who want to purchase in this location may be priced out of the freehold or newer leasehold developments and turn to the older projects instead.
Even so, the issue of lease decay is still something we need to take into consideration. Currently, the market is on an uptrend with a lack of supply so older projects are being snatched up really quickly. The issue may arise when the market eventually cools down, and so you may have trouble finding buyers for an old project since if you’re planning to stay 5-10 years, the condo will be 33 years old by the time you want to exit.
From the graph above we can see the clear disparity in the price trends between The Springbloom and the overall prices in District 19 (excluding ECs). There is a consistent supply of new launches in D19 in recent years which potentially contributed to the rising overall prices. As with most things, buyers usually lean towards getting something newer if it is within their affordability so it’s natural that demand for older developments like The Springbloom will slow down.
Cote D’Azur is another 99-year leasehold development that was completed in 2004. It is a mid-sized project with 612 units made up of 1 – 4 bedders.
It is conveniently located right beside Parkway Parade which boasts a wide array of retail and food options. It is also under a 10-minute walk to Marine Parade Promenade which houses a wet market, food centre and NTUC Fairprice, i12 Katong, and the shops and eateries along Joo Chiat and East Coast Road.
East Coast Park is just across the expressway but will take about 15 minutes to walk there as there is no straight route from the development. But like Clover, having a park is perfect for walking your dog, and it can also be fun to bring your kid for some outdoor activities by the beach.
As for transport links, the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station will be ready in 2024 and it will be an easy 5-minute walk away. At the moment there are numerous buses at the bus stop in front of the Marine Parade Promenade that will take you to town and also to several MRT stations in the East. For those who drive, the ECP is just a 3-minute drive away and it’s a straight road down to the Central region.
There are 3 primary schools within 1 km of Cote D’Azur, namely CHIJ (Katong) Primary, Tanjong Katong Primary School and Tao Nan Primary. Again, we are assuming here that you have Tao Nan Primary School in your sights.
The development sits on a land plot of 24,664 sqm. The 5 tower blocks all have different orientations and facing. Certain stacks like 17,18,25, and 28 will likely be affected by the west sun. Although the good part is that the 5 blocks were built around a huge swimming pool, which creates a good distance between the blocks.
Cote D’Azur is also a full-fledged development with the usual facilities such as a gymnasium, swimming pool, bbq areas, 2 tennis courts (which is rare in newer condos) and even a small jogging track.
There are 220 3 bedroom units ranging from 1,271 – 1,389 sq ft and they are all inward facing (Stacks 2,3,6,7,12,13,19,20,21,26,27). The best stacks will be 2 or 3 which overlook the facilities and has an unobstructed view of East Coast Park and the sea.
|25 Aug 2022||840||$1,644||$1,380,000||70 Marine Parade Road #05|
|8 Jul 2022||1,109||$1,587||$1,760,000||62 Marine Parade Road #14|
|2 Jun 2022||1,109||$1,550||$1,718,888||60 Marine Parade Road #07|
|30 May 2022||1,389||$1,613||$2,240,000||62 Marine Parade Road #10|
|20 May 2022||1,141||$1,446||$1,650,000||66 Marine Parade Road #04|
|17 May 2022||1,539||$1,559||$2,400,000||66 Marine Parade Road #04|
|13 May 2022||1,281||$1,862||$2,385,000||60 Marine Parade Road #09|
|7 Apr 2022||1,141||$1,464||$1,670,000||68 Marine Parade Road #10|
|25 Mar 2022||1,109||$1,461||$1,620,000||60 Marine Parade Road #10|
|23 Mar 2022||1,152||$1,519||$1,750,000||68 Marine Parade Road #09|
|7 Mar 2022||1,313||$1,877||$2,465,000||66 Marine Parade Road #21|
|4 Mar 2022||1,313||$1,675||$2,200,000||66 Marine Parade Road #11|
|3 Mar 2022||1,389||$1,548||$2,150,000||62 Marine Parade Road #06|
|3 Feb 2022||1,539||$1,598||$2,460,000||68 Marine Parade Road #06|
|28 Jan 2022||1,367||$1,595||$2,180,000||60 Marine Parade Road #14|
|19 Jan 2022||904||$1,493||$1,350,000||66 Marine Parade Road #12|
For the last 8 months, there were 16 units that changed hands, out of which 6 were 3 bedders. They were transacting at an average PSF of $1,695 and an average price of $2,270,000.
We’ll take a look at the floor plan for stack 2 since it’s one of the best stacks. 1,281 sq ft for a 3 bedder is definitely a comfortable size for a family. The layout is also efficient and functional, although some might not like the curvature that you can see in bedroom 2 and the master bedroom – it does give it a unique spin though. The living and dining are nicely segregated and the balcony isn’t overly huge that it eats into the liveable space. The kitchen comes with a yard, WC and utility room which is big enough to fit a single bed so it can double as a helper’s room. All 3 bedrooms are pretty sizeable and can fit a double bed with ample space to manoeuvre around.
Although there is a planter on the balcony and a bay window in bedroom 3, they are in odd corners and don’t take up too much of the liveable area. Similar to the other two projects, there is a bathtub in the master bedroom.
|Project||Tenure||Completion||No. of units||Avg PSF|
(Jan 2021 – Aug 2022)
|Cote D’Azur||99 years from 2001||2004||612||$1,489|
|Silversea||99 years from 2007||2014||383||$1,808|
|The Shore Residences||103 years from 2009||2014||408||$1,706|
With Cote D’Azur being the oldest leasehold development among the 6 projects, it is only natural that its pricing is the lowest. From the graph, you can see that from 2015 – 2016 prices of the 6 projects were actually comparable but as the year’s pass, while the freehold developments continue to appreciate, the leasehold developments are starting to become stagnant.
Comparing Cote D’Azur with the other 2 leasehold projects, the price disparity is minimally at 14.6% and if we were to compare it with the freehold projects, the price disparity is minimally 21.8%.
Its more affordable price point and proximity to amenities could be a possible reason why there is still a demand for Cote D’Azur even though it’s the oldest development in the area. Just like with The Springbloom, lease decay is something we will need to take into consideration here as well given the project is already 21 years old.
From the graph above we can see that the price disparity between Cote D’Azur and the overall prices in District 15 was very marginal but since 2016, this gap is getting wider. Similar to the situation in D19, there has been an influx of new launches in D15 which likely contributed to this growth. Prices have been rather stagnant for Cote D’Azur up until 2020 which is likely the effect of the pandemic.
We understand the struggle of comparing the 3 developments as they each have their own set of pros and cons and selling points that meet the needs of your family.
Let’s go through each of them again.
For Clover by the Park, it meets your requirements of having schools and parks nearby. It also has the advantage of being the newest out of the 3. That said, the size of 1,281 sq ft sounds good on paper but the actual layout is a drawback given that there is a lot of wasted space with the planters, bay windows and long entryway into the unit.
The Springbloom also checks the boxes of having schools and parks nearby plus it is situated just right in front of Lorong Chuan MRT station. It is the oldest of the 3, but the plus point is that it also has the biggest space on paper too. Layout-wise, it also has some wastage of space with the bay windows and no balcony, which most buyers would expect a condominium to have. So this could be a potential minor hindrance when selling it in the future. Having a balcony is fine for most people, but there is a select group of people that would want to have the option of having some outdoor space.
We do also like that The Springbloom has the least number of units, and a more than decent number of facilities as well. Besides, out of the 3, while Yangzheng is highly ranked as well, it could be slightly easier to get in than Tao Nan or Catholic High Primary.
Cote D’Azur definitely has an edge over the other two. In terms of efficiency of the layout, it has minimal wastage of space, a utility that can double as a helper’s room, and a balcony that is just the right size. Plus it is also conveniently located within walking distance to amenities, the upcoming MRT station and just a short walk to East Coast Park which is perfect for walking your dog.
However, for us, in terms of absolute own stay objectives, The Springbloom would probably be our bet given the closeness to an MRT station (which the kids will appreciate when they are older), and the slightly bigger space of the unit. You do also have a good range of facilities, and it is also the smallest in terms of units among the 3.
Do note that this is purely considered from an own-stay perspective.
If we’re talking about the better potential for appreciation or value retention, out of the 3 developments, Clover by the Park might be a better bet. Given the low supply of condominiums in Bishan, and Clover by the Park is one of the newer projects, we can expect there will still be demand despite its layout and distance from the MRT. Also, looking at the comparison between overall D20 prices vs the price trend for Clover by the Park, it has the smallest gap of the 3 projects which means it’s able to still keep up with the prices of other developments in the area so we believe it has a better shot at appreciation.
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Since this person is able to “stay in a vacant HDB rent-free”, perhaps a feasible solution would be to upgrade the fairy godmother and stay in a GCB rent-free…
$350k a year each is very good income! Hope it’s sustainable. Good luck.
It is quite impressive!